Improving the eBook Reading Experience
IOS Mobile App
User Research, App Redesign, Usability Testing,
Improving the eBook Reading Experience
Instaread is an app for curious people who want to read summaries and key insights from books.
People use Instaread to save time, gain knowledge, decide whether or not a new book it's worth reading, or simply to revisit the shorter version of a book they've previously read.
"I’m looking to decide if this is the right book for me, but I have to invest an unreasonable amount of effort to do so."
I started by understanding why do they want a redesign? To understand the current situation, and the problems our users were facing while using the app, I conducted a few initiatives.
- Identified what were the goals of the product and users.
- Analyzed existent data on current subscribers, cancelations, app usage.
- Conducted individual interviews with power users, free trial users, and users who cancelled their subscription to uncover the problems they were facing while using the app, as well as what worked and what didn't work in the current app.
It was important to focus on what actually needs to be changed. I started with a quick, high‐intensity effort that allowed us to define audit the existing work, define project milestones, understand Instaread's long term vision and constraints, and began research into user needs, behaviors, and pain‐points.
Our research revealed that the concept of 'reading summaries' represented different things to each group of people who were using our app. Through careful analysis of our research, we identified personas hypothesis and jobs to be done which consisted of three different archetypes. We used them to facilitate discussions about our users needs, desires and varying contexts of use.
We didn't have a research team in-house, so I conducted all the research and user interviews with 110 people from three verticals: power users, people in free trials and people who have canceled their subscription.
Additionally, every day after work, I also put myself in the shoes of our readers, reading summaries within the app. This allowed me to better empathize with the people who were using our app, understand what was important for them, and what were the pain-points a person might experience while using the app.
After I gathered all the data, I mapped out the current design, and highlighted where the experience was broken. This helped me figure out which of the problem areas were related to a design issue versus which ones were technical problems that we can fix.
While in Book Preview there were three major scenarios in the user journey.
What was not working with this design?
Through interviews we discovered that people have to put too much energy to discover new books, trying to guess which book might be interesting. They needed a better way to understand what’s inside a book.
DESIGNING THE EXPERIENCE
Because of a very tight timeline, we chose to develop a high‐fidelity prototype which had both benefits and drawbacks. On a positive note, jumping right into the prototype was a powerful tool in strengthening the relationship with the leadership team, gaining feedback and approval from them and from the developer early on. On the other side, the prototype was my final deliverable to the client, this means that any changes I've made after critique & iterations, had to be reflected on the final prototype. Luckily InVision has a suite of plugins that you can take advantage of. I used Craft to update all my designs in real time.
Once I had the interactive Prototype in InVision I planned usability testing sessions with our users. I wanted to learn if they are able to complete some tasks successfully without my help and identify changes required to improve user performance and satisfaction.
Conducted remotely tests with users in a different location. I've asked them to perform tasks that were essential to the success of this new redesign. After all the tests have been completed, I was able to gather sufficient information and observe patterns in order to make improvements to the design.
The new designs went live in the app store end of last year. So far, feedback has been extremely positive, subscriptions increased and the new design solved the problem the users had initially.